How the NFL will handle roster spots if a player is diagnosed with COVID-19: report


NFL owners are meeting Friday to discuss a range of yet-to-be-finalized aspects of the 2020 season, including training camp dates, the viability of the preseason, and safety measures for a successful regular season.

Among those topics includes how the league will handle the roster implications of players who test positive for COVID-19. Between the 53-man active roster and the teams' respective practice squads, many have wondered whether the league will expand the number of players available to teams amid the ongoing pandemic.

According to a report from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, it sounds like the leauge has a plan in place.

Here's the current plan, per Florio:

Per a league source, the league intends to change the injured reserve rules to create a COVID-19 classification. Players who test positive will be placed on the COVID-19 list for three weeks, creating a roster spot that would then be filled with a player who is negative for the virus.

The players on the COVID-19 list would be paid their normal salaries.

It’s unclear what will happen if a player on the COVID-19 list can't return after three weeks, at which time he will be eligible to return to practice. He must be returned to the active roster within three weeks after that, or he will revert to IR (absent an injury settlement).

The CDC recommends self-quarantining for 14 days if you come into contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. The NFL's reported three-week period, then, adds in some extra time on each side. 


Earlier this offseason, there was speculation about expanding practice squads from 10 players to 12 players in order to allow for replacement players.

There was also discussion, started by Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, about quarantining a quarterback away from the rest of the team, in case of a team-wide outbreak.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson discussed the viability of a QB quarantine back in June:

Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about things, and that's one way to do it. If you do it with the quarterback position, do you do it with a receiver, do you do it with a defensive back, something like that. But these are all things that right now, between now and the time we play are really — or I should say the time we get back to training camp, are the scenarios that we need to as a staff think through and the possibilities. 

But that is definitely something to consider as you move forward to protect the quarterback position, but at the same time you have to think about the entire roster, as well.

We'll see what happens.

The Eagles are expected to report to training camp July 28, and begin the regular season Sept. 13.

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